Cebras por la Vida was born in Bogotá to bring attention to the lack of respect, comfort, and safety conditions that walkers experience in the city. In 2014, 322 pedestrians died in Bogotá. At 58 percent, more than half of people who die on the streets are pedestrians.
German Sarmiento started this initiative as a citizen movement to reclaim the importance of the pedestrian crossings. He wanted to ask the government to assume responsibility in promoting the rights of pedestrians. Cebras por la Vida members paint zebra crossings in an artistic way to differentiate their work from the work of public authorities. The group’s goal is to encourage citizens to reflect on more human models of urban coexistence.
“Thinking about the pedestrian is to look on a wide and comprehensive way at the most critical issues, always thinking first about people, not about private cars and their demands,” Sarmiento said.
The Cebras por la Vida model has been replicated in different Colombian cities, including Pereira, Medellin, Cúcuta, Villavicencio. Dérive LAB also replicated the model in Querétaro, México. This has garnered international attention for Cebras por la Vida. The initiative was awarded with the 2015 Walking Visionaries Award in the Advocacy Campaigning and Social Projects category at the Walk21 Vienna conference. The organization also won the Urban Sustainability Award at the 2014 World Urban Forum held in Medellin.
A good city for pedestrians is a good city for everyone: children, adults, disabled people, bicycle users, public transport users. In short, a walking city is a safe, sustainable, inclusive and more human city.